Summer is here, and it’s time to break out the grill!
Forget about missing out on backyard barbecue season while eating healthy. Grilling is one of the best ways to prepare delicious and nourishing meals.
Many of the recommended PowerFuels in your Nutrisystem plan can be made on the grill and enjoyed all week. These healthy proteins and fats taste great and can help boost weight loss success.
Read on to learn about the benefits of grilling PowerFuels. Plus, get some tips on including them on the Nutrisystem weight loss plan for maximum impact on your weight loss journey.
How Do PowerFuels Help You Lose Weight?
Lean proteins and healthy fats play important roles in weight management. Getting enough of both keeps hunger under control, so you naturally eat fewer calories.
Protein also helps keep your body burning more calories throughout the weight loss process by minimizing muscle loss. When losing weight, everyone loses both fat and muscle. Since muscles are active tissues that consume calories even at rest, reducing muscle loss can optimize your daily calorie burn.
According to a review of multiple studies, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, diets that provide at least 1.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight lead to better weight loss results. Study participants had an easier time sticking with high-protein diets due to improved appetite control. Researchers also noted that high protein diets prevented declines in metabolic rate.
Aiming for 25 to 30 grams of protein at each meal is a good target to achieve these benefits.
Similarly, studies have shown that consuming moderate amounts of healthy fats (think: olive oil, avocado, nuts and seeds) leads to better diet compliance. These fats add flavor to meals, increasing satisfaction. They also travel slowly through your digestive system, providing long-term appetite control.
Nutrisystem’s plans are specifically designed to provide the right amount of these nutrients to boost weight loss success. However, pairing all the recommended PowerFuels with the Nutrisystem meals is important to get the most benefit.
Follow the steps below to enjoy delicious PowerFuels throughout the summer grilling season.
Step 1: Pick Your Protein
One PowerFuel serving will provide about 80 to 120 calories and looks like 2 ounces (~56 grams) of meat or 3 ounces (~84 grams) of seafood.
By grilling multiple servings at once, you’ll have plenty of options ready to use throughout the week.
The best choices to keep you feeling full and energized will be low in saturated fat and provide at least 5 grams of protein or 8 grams of unsaturated fats. Try these healthy ideas:
1. Lean Steak
Flank steak, sirloin steak and boneless strip steak are some of the best grilling steaks that are low in saturated fat. (2 ounces = 1 PowerFuel)
2. Chicken Breast
This versatile lean meat is delicious when grilled and pairs well with a variety of dishes. (2 ounces = 1 PowerFuel)
3. Chicken Sausage
A great alternative to hot dogs, chicken sausage is lower in fat and protein. (2 ounces = 1 PowerFuel)
Packed with omega-3 fatty acids that help fight inflammation and protect metabolic health, salmon can be cooked directly on the grill or wrapped in tin foil. (2 ounces = 1 PowerFuel)
5. Extra Firm Tofu
Extra firm tofu holds up great on the grill. Tofu also is great skewered for making plant-based kabobs. (1/2 cup = 1 PowerFuel)
The char from the grill paired with the slightly sweet creaminess of the avocado fruit is a must-try. Simply cut the avocado in half and place face down on the grill. Besides being delicious, avocados are packed with fiber and unsaturated fats that will keep you satisfied. (1/3 avocado = 1 PowerFuel)
Explore the PowerFuel list in the Nutrisystem Grocery Guide for more ideas! >
Step 2: Add Flavor
While high-sugar barbecue sauce, butter and salt are classic flavors of the grilling season, there are plenty of healthy ways to flavor your PowerFuels without adding empty calories and unhealthy fats.
Use a marinade.
Marinades tenderize and infuse flavor in proteins before firing them up on the grill. But you may have caught yourself wondering, does marinating chicken add calories? The short answer is yes, it does. But the amount may be negligible depending on the ingredients you use.
Avoid marinades with high saturated fat ingredients like buttermilk or coconut milk. Instead, opt for marinades that use fresh herbs and acids like vinegar or lemon juice. A few teaspoons of healthy fat like olive oil can bring it all together. Some easy options include:
- Olive oil, garlic, Italian seasoning and balsamic vinaigrette
- Honey and soy sauce
- Lime juice, olive oil, garlic and cilantro
When using options like these, it’s usually unnecessary to consider the additional calories from marinades. However, if you’d like to estimate additional calorie intake, follow these three steps:
- Calculate the calories in your marinade recipe and measure the amount used.
- When marinating is complete, remove the protein and measure the amount of marinade left.
- Calculate the calories added to your protein based on the difference between the amount prepared and the amount left after marinating.
Try a spice rub.
Dry rubs are another way to add serious flavor to PowerFuels before cooking without adding calories. Choose sugar-free options made only with herbs and spices, and rub them directly into your proteins before adding them to the grill. There’s no need to coat it with oil.
You can also make your own rubs by combining spices like:
- Chili powder, oregano, salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder and onion powder
- Salt, pepper, coriander, basil, garlic powder and paprika
- Oregano, basil, parsley, thyme, rosemary, garlic powder and red pepper flakes
Step 3: Enjoy Grilled PowerFuels as Part of Your Plan
There are endless ways to enjoy delicious grilled PowerFuels as part of your Nutrisystem plan. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Pair grilled sirloin steak with Nutrisystem’s Loaded Mashed Potatoes.
- Add grilled chicken and steamed broccoli to Nutrisystem’s Mac and Cheese.
- Mix grilled tofu cubes with Nutrisystem’s Spicy Kung Pao Noodles.
- Top Nutrisystem’s Thick Crust Pizza or Garlic Cheese Flatbread with grilled chicken sausage and peppers.
- Serve Nutrisystem’s Harvest Grain Bowl with freshly grilled salmon.
Summer – also known as the start of grilling season – provides a great opportunity to mix up your routine and enjoy foods in new ways.
Nutrisystem’s PowerFuel guidelines can be used to enjoy delicious foods throughout the season that keep you on track with your health goals.
- Leidy HJ, Clifton PM, Astrup A, et al. The role of protein in weight loss and maintenance. Am J Clin Nutr. 2015;101(6):1320S-1329S.
- Estruch R, Ros E, Salas-Salvadó J, et al. Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease with a Mediterranean Diet Supplemented with Extra-Virgin Olive Oil or Nuts. N Engl J Med.